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Calvary’s modular songwriting class was taught online in Cycle 1 by Lisa Weyerhaeuser (top right; also pictured: Abigail LePage (bottom) and Mariah Strickland (top left).

Students hear from music industry professionals.

In this year’s Songwriting class, students heard presentations from Christian musicians active in the music industry. The class, taught by Lisa Weyerhaeuser, was a modular course with two weeks of pre- and post-class work and one week of in-class lectures. In preparation for the course, students spent two weeks journaling. Weyerhaeuser said, “writers sometimes get stuck, and writing even an hour in the morning, writing anything that comes to your mind and not paying any attention almost to what you’re writing, it clears out your mind to get to the good stuff.”

During class time, students studied Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison and practiced exercises from the book. Weyerhaeuser said the book pushes students “to tap into the parts of our sensory expression, because when you write a song, you have three minutes to say everything you want to and bring the listener into what you’re feeling or what the song is trying to express.” The exercises build their skills and train them to take the listener “on a journey through something that you are experiencing—to take them on this three-minute journey with you.”

Weyerhaeuser brings in guest lecturers from the music industry, who each give an hour-long presentation. This year, students heard from guitarist Rex Carroll, singer/songwriter Randy Stonehill, and producer Matthew Clark. Carroll discussed musicality and techniques of writing, and Stonehill talked “about needing your walk with God to be where you draw from when you’re being inspired to write, and the importance of being in the Word.” Clark touched on “the nuts and bolts of the industry, the things you as an artist need to be doing to get out there as much as you can.”

This is Weyerhaeuser’s second time teaching Songwriting at Calvary. She said, “I love to write songs. I’ve had a very long history of writing, and I’ve also seen my skills as a songwriter improve.” One of the things she learned through her years of writing was, “When you’re young, you write out of being inspired to write. But if a writer writes, they have to write without being inspired.” Weyerhaeuser said she loves teaching students songwriting and teaching them “that they have a voice, and that their voice matters.”